The Book of English Magic (Anglais) Broché – 30 octobre 2012
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Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
"Lucid and wonderfully easy to read… While it is indeed a perfect book for the 'intelligent novice' it’s far more than that– it’s a serious, in-depth survey of a massive topic.” — –WitchVox
"An accessible and immensely readable book… A fascinating insight into a hidden world.” — Booksquawk
Présentation de l'éditeur
Magic runs through the veins of English history, part of daily life from the earliest Arthurian legends to Aleister Crowley to the novels of Tolkien and Philip Pullman, and from the Druids to Freemasonry and beyond. Richly illustrated and deeply knowledgeable, this book is an invaluable source for anyone curious about magic and wizardry, or for sophisticated practitioners wanting to learn more.
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Meilleurs commentaires des clients
De nombreux magiciens modernes sont cités longuement (des passages de 2 à 5 pages qui se distinguent du reste de par une encre gris pâle désagréable à lire) mais leurs discours sont creux et remplis de clichés pour la plupart.
Un intérêt du livre, ce sont toutes les adresses de sites internet que l'auteur propose à la fin de chaque chapitre ou des suggestions de lecture ou de visites pour les lecteurs qui auraient envie d'approfondir tel ou tel aspect de la magie, voire même de s'initier à certaines pratiques.
Au final, un livre qui n'est pas désagréable, instructif sur certains points, mais je n'ai pas eu l'impression d'apprendre grand chose de neuf. Je m'attendais à une étude plus rigoureuse de la magie passée; or, ça reste général et l'auteur s'intéresse davantage à la traduction de cette magie dans les mouvements contemporains.
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(N.B. I am not a magician, but a medievalist, so my interest in this was more scholarly than as a grimoire. I am aware of the infighting that may rage here as among pagans about nomenclature, inclusion, and exclusion. But my review is for a general reader looking inside a realm that most of us on the outside know little about...)
Twelve fast-paced, illustrated and annotated chapters reveal this vast storehouse of lore. Ancient roots, starting with prehistoric cave-dwellers, dig down into pre-Celtic and Celtic foundations. Saxon sorcerers displace and follow Druids. Their descendants become medieval Catholics, grail searchers with their own complicated relationship to their magical peers.
Alchemy intrigued "puffers" close to Elizabethan courtiers. Witches met persecution, if in England far fewer being hanged than some have supposed. Astrologers, cunning-men (akin to fortune-tellers or psychics today), wizards, Rosicrucians, scryers, Freemasons, Theosophists, Spiritualists, and mediums populate the chronicles of the past five hundred years. Even if most who feared or welcomed magic lived in isolation, one city grew in its allure. Enduring in its attraction for England's spiritual and scientific explorers, London, the authors remind us, is better than Cairo or Calcutta, Paris or Prague, for anybody curious about the Craft. They detail its lore and its three occult bookstores lovingly.
Essays by adepts enrich this volume. Brian Bates, a psychologist and shamanistic researcher, laments the superficiality of how magic is treated. "People nowadays will happily read Harry Potter, but are wary of the real stuff." The reclamation of what popular culture distorts, while protecting the secrecy of lore and rituals entrusted to true initiates, characterizes many who guard their mystery traditions.
Some still remain anonymous here. One, a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn that once attracted W.B. Yeats as well as a man whom he detested, Aleister Crowley, explains his search "for the mystery of being." He reasons that magic is both objective and subjective. It is created by the imagination and then takes on its own life; it is real and separate from human beings at the same time.
Few contributors claim, as earlier witches did a few decades ago, to inherit magical skills. Instead, they seek out the few who control them, who create them, and who teach them. Carr-Gomm and Heygate warn of the easy lure of spell-casting; the love charm they include should be used to bring love into one's life, but not a particular lover. For, he or she once enticed may turn out to be the bane of one's existence.
Websites, reading lists of novels and manuals, experts, locations, and schools append each chapter. While some oversight may be inevitable (I missed James Blish's erudite novel on medieval alchemist Roger Bacon, "Doctor Mirabilis" [see my review], and the fiction of J.C. Powys and Iain Sinclair), the authors succeed in navigating between the skeptical and the credulous among those whom they address and whom they include. For those wishing to find out about such lore, such guidance remains necessary. Nigel Pennick, a prolific scholar-practitioner, laments how people "no longer do things because their ancestors did them; it is no longer part of our culture to pass things on to the next generation."
The repeal of the Witchcraft Act in 1951, Swinging Sixties appeal, and the ecological threats that increased awareness of earth-based religious practices in the 1980s contribute to the shift in perception among many English people that welcomed pagan or alternative forms of ritual and belief.
This sense of adventure, for perhaps more wary seekers, accounts for the rise in public perceptions of esoteric, and formerly shunned or banned, practices. Music's touched on within a summation of Chaos Magic, but the impact of film and television portrayals of magic, oddly, is absent from this survey. Compared to Margot Adler's magisterial account of American New Age and neo-pagan movements, "Drawing Down the Moon" (see my review), this counterpart appears more grounded in the living history which connects the English varieties directly to their dolmens and fields, their hideaways and chambers. This, after all, is the strength inherent in their magical legacy.
This book closes movingly, acknowledging the eclectic, syncretic nature of the corpus of a resuscitated English magical tradition. Deep down, the authors advise, one knows if one or more of the paths sketched in this book may direct one to fulfillment. This magical quest draws on a depth of awareness that contemplation and study may reveal.
This is in no way an "advanced" book on magic, nor does it claim to be. It is however a brilliant volume of all things English magic, hence the title. If you are looking for a medieval grimoire, look somewhere else. If you are looking for a book to fuel your imagination, not at the cost of the readers intelligence, don't even hesitate. This is the type of book that makes me love books!!!!!
Explaining the contents would be futile, as this is such a unique, fun, page turner. There are magical practices, great for getting started, but more for putting you in the element of what your reading to complement the experience.It is beautifully bound, and you will love it the second you pull it out of the box, I PROMISE!!!!
If you have an avid love for the occult, especially English like me, you will be very glad you found this treasure!!!!
I was fortunate enough to get the hardcover UK edition when it was first published. It is a beautifully bound book - truly one of the more attractive books in my collection!
I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the history of English magic, especially history that is written in a less formal, more approachable fashion.
The book is multi-layered. Each chapter contains an essay on the topic, then short biographies of notable practitioners of said art, and finally there are exercises to try yourself and a useful list of further reading or web sites to try.
The authors took on a mammoth task and the only reason I gave the book four stars rather than five is because some of my favourite magicians were rather sparsely treated. (W.E. Butler and Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki are mentioned, but only in passing.)
I'm sure a volume two is in order.
An important graduate school lesson is to read a book's preface, introduction, bibliography, and appendices, where applicable, in order to understand goals of the author(s) and where they hearken from. Certain factions of academia are compelled to mirror mainstream society, therefore maintaining safe, uncontroversial, quantifiable, mundane theories, which have roasted from them the very vibrancy of life. The Book of English Magic is elevated spirit emergent from that burnt out, or calcined, bodily existence, which the static status quo has so generously generated. Consequently, within this inherently magical text, every section which I have thoroughly read or briefly skimmed (not finished yet, by a long shot!) seems just as exciting/enlightening as the next, or previous, so (like me!) delight in, devour and digest every word, legend, map and sigil!
I am personally halfway through this magical textbook, being on "Chapter Six: Transmutation and Transformation - The World of the Alchemists and Puffers", which I'm allowing to assimilate in a gentle manner. For as a student alchemist, I quickly applied the old adage that `haste makes waste'! Thus far, this chapter is most rewarding, and I've enjoyed every aspect of quintessential knowledge that these authors have distilled from the Arcanum of England's Last Great Magical Age.
In summation, acquire this book...for you, for a friend, for family, or for your local library. Let us infuse the New World with this seed of Old World knowledge. These magical precepts were already brought over in the form of folk-lore/practices and are now in dire need of being watered by the whetted appetites of those beholden to the old ways and dedicated to the new. The empowering information bequeathed allows for personal correspondences no matter where you live. Frequently, this means to experience the magic whence it is least expected.
The Book of English Magic by Philip Carr-Gomm and Richard Heygate represents an illuminated treasure far surpassing, and probably permeating, any precious bobble locked within the Tower of London. These authors have been as amiable to me as they are talented in the crafting of this tome. I am honored and personally thankful to Philip for the lovely surprise message in my signed copy and to Richard for his warm, well-wishing e-messages.